University of Minnesota

“If It Isn’t Fun.” – Senior, then Chief, Resident

I was a happy camper at the VA Hospital as first-year resident in medicine. The chief of medicine, Edmund Flink, was a scholar and gentleman, and I had a consummate mentor and straight-arrow senior resident, Cyrus C. Brown. It was like a junior year at school, full of wonder, learning, and confidence-building.

Then came senior residency and responsibility. I inherited two junior residents, one a bright, precocious clinical investigator on the cusp of research in infectious disease, immunology, and the new corticosteroid therapy. He was destined to fame at Harvard and as confidant of the Kennedy family. The other, a pragmatic, down-to-earth guy and chronic skeptic, was destined to family practice in small-town Wisconsin. I often felt trapped between intimidating, sardonic brilliance and oppressive, anti-intellectual skepticism.

I never developed any chemistry with the “regular guy” resident, who was more interested in learning to do things than in thinking about them. After this tense episode, life went on and, in fact, our service remained a tight if not wholly compatible ship until I was assigned to Ancker Hospital in St. Paul, as Chief Resident in Medicine, on January 1, 1956.

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